April 19, 2020
for Sunday, April 19
Acts 2:141, 22-32
1 Peter 1:3-9
The Rev. Jo Page, Dean, Hudson Mohawk Conference
I spent ten years serving a congregation in which most of the people either worked or had worked at the General Electric Research and Development Center. In other words, I served a congregation full of scientists and engineers. They were inclined to want proof about everything.
Replace the roof? Let's get fifteen, twenty and thirty-year performance charts on roofing materials. Become the first Reconciling in Christ congregation in the Upstate New York Synod? Let's research scientific, sociological and medical data on the etiology of sexual orientation.
Imagine them as Thomas: Trust the word of your friends that Jesus is risen and has been hanging out with you? Oh, they'd have wanted to see the marks of the nails. They'd have wanted to put their hands in those sorry wounds.
I love that kind of thorough-going insistence on reality. I respect the honesty - and the bravery - of doubt. "Doubting" should not be a pejorative adjective. Because if we don't have our doubts about things, then we're just not paying attention.
Or, as the theologian Paul Tillich put it once, the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.
Thomas is one of the most devoted of the disciples. When Jesus wants to make the dangerous journey to Bethany and Lazarus, Thomas says, "Let us go also, that we may die there with him."
Thomas is one of the most direct of the disciples. At the last supper, he is not content with ambiguity. He presses Jesus for specifics: "We do not know the way you are going. How can we know the way?" he asks.
He wants Jesus to be a kind of cartographer of faith. And don't we want the same thing? Tell us what it all means, God? And in these days of pandemic, that may be our prayer more than ever.
It's true that when news of the resurrection gets out, Thomas doesn't believe it. But neither did the other disciples when Mary tells them about it. Luke's gospel says "these words seemed to them an idle tale and they did not believe them." I leave it for you to decide if Mary's gender had anything to do with why they didn't believe her so-called "idle tale."
Thomas' concern for seeing, for touching the wounds of Jesus is consistent with his views of ministry - literally, hands-on. He doesn't want to be anybody's fool, trusting hearsay.
So, is there reproach or reassurance in Jesus' words to him? "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." I'm not really sure.
Because Jesus always has expected hard things from his followers: Turn the other cheek, love your enemies, do not judge, do not be a hypocrite, do not worry. And that's just from one of his teachings!
The power in the story of Thomas seeing Jesus is that, when he finally does put his hands in Christ's wounds, he says what none of the other disciples have yet said. Thomas takes the peace that Jesus gives to him and turns it into a remarkable confession of his own resurrected faith: "My God and my Lord."
Thank God for Thomas, who is not anybody's fool, but God's new creation: the disciple transformed by faith to see the still unseen Godhead in the risen Jesus Christ.
19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." 27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." 28Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 29Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
Names will remain of the Prayer List for a month - at which
time it will be taken off unless, or course, there is still a continued need
for our prayers and we’re asked to keep the name on.
*** All services and activities cancelled until the end of the month.
Follow the link below each Sunday at 9:30 to Worship in Spirit .
The sermon this week will be by Bishop Macholz.
Download Sunday's Interactive Bulletin here:
To simply view the video go here:
To go directly to downloading the video go here:
***How are you doing?
It’s been a number of weeks since we have all had our activities restricted. We do work differently. We do doctor visits differently. We go out in public differently. We worship together (?) differently. How are you coping with all these changes?
I have been phoning and emailing everyone in the church directory to touch base. Now I have a question. How helpful (or not) do you find the interactive bulletins? Is this meeting your Sunday worship needs or do we need to do something different? We would like your feedback. Some churches are doing video that’s pre-recorded. Others are using Zoom or other applications so it’s like live worship. What works for you?
Please know that I am here with you as well as our Lord being with you. You can contact me by email at or by phone at 716-904-9855 at any time. Let’s talk.
*** Don’t forget fill out the census form. To do it online, go to
***Collecting food items for the 5 & 2 Ministry. Bring your donations and place in the black bin in church narthex. Lists detailing items needed are also available in the narthex. Monetary donations welcome!
5 & 2 Ministry Food Bins Donated to Date: 77
***If anyone is interested in making masks to donate, here is the link to the pattern/instructions on how to make the masks.
Here is a link where the completed masks can be dropped off:
Thanks for your support in this important moment.
The Rev. Luke Fodor Rector, St. Luke's Church 410 N Main St Jamestown, NY 14701 (716) 483-6405 (office) (347) 495-1482 (cell)
***ONLINE GIVING now available at St. Timothy for Debit/Credit cards. 3 ways to give:
- Go directly to our website at
- Use our QR code with the QR reader on your smartphone
- Download the app ‘GivePlus Church’. Create an account.
For further information, see Kathy Carlson on Sundays or call her at 485-1316.
"Very early on Sunday morning, at sunrise, they went to the tomb. On the way they said to one another, 'Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?' (It was a very large stone.) Then they looked up and saw that the stone had already been rolled back."
Dear Friends of LCLC,
The women in this Easter account were worried about the stone that they thought would be a barrier between themselves and Jesus Christ. In the end, this threshold, this place of loss and grief is exactly where the resurrection was first experienced.
A tomb is a place of uncertainty, sadness, and grief. But on Easter morning, all these conditions were transformed forever by the love of God in Christ Jesus.
For many, COVID-19 has become a very large stone that seems to be blocking them from the joy of resurrection and life. If this is true for you, know that you are not alone and that LCLC walks with you. In fact, LCLC shares those concerns too.
Since the State shutdown orders were issued in mid-March, all our retreat groups have canceled through April and May. This unexpected loss of income will be difficult, if not impossible to recoup this year. While we've done all that we can to minimize our ongoing expenses, certain work still needs to be done so that we can resume face-to-face ministry when the time comes.
Hopefully, this will happen in time for our summer camping season. Until we're told otherwise by the State or Federal governments, LCLC is committed to having some sort of summer camping season, even if it looks different from what we're used to. It's thanks to the faithful support of donors like you, that LCLC is able to make that commitment.
If ever there was a time when your support was needed, this is it. Your gift of any amount will help us "roll away the stone" that might hinder our mission of sharing the gospel of Christ Jesus in ways that give life. Please join us and take comfort in the words of 2 Corinthians 4:1, "Therefore, since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart."
Thank you. Thanks be to God. And may the joy of the empty tomb fill you with resurrection and life.
In hope and confidence,
Lee M. Lindeman
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